Tag Archives: Tips

Conquering the LIRR

For those of you who aren’t from Long Island and the idea of walking into Penn Station with an end destination but no idea how to get there, I’m here to help.  This past weekend I took the LIRR for the FIRST time to go to my best friend’s bridal shower.  I was absolutely terrified, especially because I had to transfer trains at Jamaica which before coming to New York, I thought only existed in the Caribbean…

So the biggest help will be your friends that are from Long Island.  They will give you the best advice as to how to take on the train system.

  1. Figure out where you’re going
  2. Use the LIRR Trip Planner to see what trains you need to take http://lirr42.mta.info/
  3. When you arrive in Penn, follow the signs to the LIRR.  You have the option to use the ticket window to buy your tickets, the ticket machine similar to refilling your MetroCard, buying the tickets online, or buying them on the train (more expensive).
  4. Tickets will vary in price depending on the day and time that you are traveling, which you can view on the trip planner.  You can purchase single ride, round trip, monthly passes and several other options
  5. Once you purchase your ticket, you will look up at the big screen that tells you what time your train is arriving and what track it is on.  If you followed step #2, you will know what train you are taking.  Anywhere from 4-12 minutes prior to departure, the screen will notify you of what train your track is on and you as well as 50+ other people will all rush in the same direction.  Follow their lead if you are going on that train!
  6. If you have to transfer at Jamaica, the connection train will always be across the track upon arrival or a few minutes later.  If you are not taking the connection train, then you must go and find your train.  Ask the people around you as well as employees.  They know best!
  7. While on the train the conductor will come around and hole punch your ticket and return it to you depending on the type of ticket that you have and your destination.  Be sure that if you are on a round trip, don’t lose your ticket coming back to the city!

That pretty much covers it!  Good luck on the LIRR!

Ashley

Yes, It Was My Way

 Yesterday I took my last final ever. It was probably my last day of school ever as well. It’s kind of crazy how fast college has gone by, and a little scary to think about such a huge change. However, I am happy with my four years here. These mixed feelings are hard to sum up, so I’ll just let Frank help me explain (yes, it’s cheesy, but just be glad I’m not using the “as we go on, we remember all the times we had together” song):

 

I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve traveled each and every highway; And more, much more than this, I did it my way

I think the most important aspect of my college career was that I tried everything I could and got to experience as much as possible. Salsa club, film critique, tennis, study abroad in Italy, walking the Camino de Santiago, fashion design, fabric styling, field biology, french conversation in Paris, the list can go on. This allowed me to meet so many interesting, lovely people and become excited about things I otherwise would not have even known about.

Regrets, I’ve had a few; But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do, and saw it through without exemption

I think people are most successful when they put their all into something, whether it be a project or an outfit. Sure, there may be some failures along your road, but I’ve heard some of the most accomplished people say they were not successful until they had their first huge failure. Failure is not something to be ashamed of, as long as you didn’t go down passively. If you’re going to fail, fail with all your might.

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew, when I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt,  I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall;  And did it my way

Personally, I viewed my biggest “failure” as when I realized I couldn’t keep doing the Fashion Design program, and that what I grew up thinking was my future was in reality not going to happen. At the time it seemed like the end of everything – my ambition, my dreams and goals – however, looking back now I am glad I switched out of Fashion Design. It was too much stress for me and I cannot imagine where I would be now mentally if I had stayed on. Deciding to switch majors was one of the hardest choices I had to make so far, but I’m glad I continued to my Bachelor’s and found a new path.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried. I’ve had my fill; my share of losing. And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing

FIT has certainly brought me a fair share of laughter and tears. I have made some of the craziest, silliest, best friends in the world over the past four years, and done some ridiculous and completely unforgettable things. On the flip side, if you ask my mom, I’m sure she could regale you with stories of late night crying phone calls and exasperated, endless discussions about my future, but looking back now it’s hard to remember those bad times. I would say don’t stress so much about making decisions and going crazy over little upsets, but it is hard to realize that in the moment.

For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels; And not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows – And did it my way!

You just have to do work that you can be proud of, and put your all into it. There are going to be obstacles and mistakes along your journey, I can guarantee it, so don’t worry about if it is going to happen, just know it is so important to not let those hardships stop you. And don’t be afraid of change, because change is not the end, it is not failing.

If you are a graduating senior in high school or college, I hope you feel as fulfilled as I do as you look back on your time thus far. And if you are facing a new chapter in your life, I hope my cheesy quote-advice will help reassure you as you begin a new path on your adventure.

 Thank you so much for reading my posts for the past two years!

–Emily–

Professor Beware

Having a good professor can make or break a class. There are certainly a range here at FIT, as anywhere else. I have found most of my professors as extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and interesting. I will admit to checking sites like ratemyprofessor.com as soon as teachers were announced, and I’m sure you will too.

However, you have to be careful with websites like this. First of all, ratings are not necessarily the best indicator of what a teacher will really be like. Many times people just use rating sites to complain when they did not get along with a professor, or feel like they were not being treated fairly whether it is true or not. Hopefully the teacher will have many reviews and you can judge for yourself if they seem reliable.

I think feedback for the professors and the school is a great tool if said feedback is honest and sincere, and I encourage students to rate their teachers (fairly, of course). I just went back and rated every teacher I had for my bachelors degree. That being said, these comments are not guarantees and I have often found my experience with a teacher to be completely opposite of what most people wrote, for better or worse.

Do you use ratemyprofessor.com or other sites like it? What experiences have you had with them?

–Emily–

Love Your Library!

The FIT library is more than just a room with bookshelves; it has more resources than most students realize! Of course, the Gladys Marcus Library houses an impressive collection of print books pertaining to fashion, art, architecture, etc., but it also has books on every subject including history, psychology, and literature. There is also a whole section dedicated to DVDs of movies (classic as well as modern) and TV shows. In addition, if there is a book or journal that you cannot find in-house, FIT is part of the Interlibrary Loan system, so you can get anything you need! Before heading up there, here is some information about the various services offered:

See, we have stacks too!

See, we have stacks too!

Even a ton of books about economics

Even a ton of books about economics

Quiet Study Space

Quiet Study Space

Picture FilesPicture Files

The Picture Files are relatively new to the library. You can browse through the extensive collection freely and even check out up to 20 images at once! These can be extremely helpful for Illustration and Fine Arts students who need references. We also have access to the FitDigital Image Library, which is a digital collection of images from the Museum at FIT, the Special Collections, student and staff work, images used in Art History classes and the Designer Files collection.

Magazine

Vogue spreads from the 2000s vs the 1930s

Vogue spreads from the 2000s vs the 1930s

Magazine Archive

The Gladys Marcus library subscribes and keeps an archive of numerous magazines, mainly focused on design. The periodicals can be checked out for two hours either for reading or doing research. FIT also has a backlog of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar dating back to the very first issues. These are collected in books chronologically and can be looked at in the library at your leisure. We also have access to the Vogue Archives online that can be extra useful when you search within the collection for specific words or phrases. Designer Files can also be checked out. These are tear sheet collections of centered on a specific designer.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 11.32.03 AMScreen Shot 2015-04-14 at 11.32.16 AMscanner

Art Reference Collection

The Art Reference collection has the most inspiring books in the library. It is pretty much all of those beautiful coffee table books that are too expensive to buy yourself. The subjects range into all types of design, not just fashion. These books cannot be taken out of the library, but thanks to the scanners and copiers you can bring the images home.

Special Collections

The Special Collections houses over 500,000 books, periodicals, illustrations and designer scrapbooks. Any student or outside researcher can make an appointment, but you have to request a subject or time period you want to look at, you cannot just browse like in the Art Reference Collection or Picture Files.

Databases

In addition to print collections, the library subscribes to online databases that are incredibly helpful for research papers. The databases range across all types of topics from fashion history and forecasting to psychology and international trade. The FIT library’s website collects all of the databases in one place so they are easy to find and use. These databases are trustworthy sources for information and can be accessed at any time through the library website.

StyleCat

StyleCat is the main search engine used in the Gladys Marcus library. It can be accessed anywhere via the library website, but there are also computers stationed around the library with it open. It’s pretty basic: you search one or more terms and a list of all the books in the collection that relate pop-up with the call number and how many copies there are and which are checked out.

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FIT also uses the stairwells of the library as a gallery showcasing student and faculty work

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A main work area in the library

A friendly student librarian

A friendly student librarian

If you have more questions about these services, a librarian is always available to help at the desk or you can call 212-217-4400. If you have a question when the library is closed we have this handy feature called Ask a Librarian where you can call/text/send a message.

–Emily–

You’re Here, Now What?

You’ve made it to New York!! Tall buildings, bright lights, how exciting! …Now what? All your friends and family are back home. Your roommate is kinda cool, but you two don’t exactly “click”. Despite New York’s reputation as one of the loneliest cities there are many ways to meet cool people!

If you are missing being an athlete and bonding with a team, you can look for inter-city sports teams. If venturing off-campus is a little too daunting for you, FIT also has classes anyone can attend including yoga, spin, kickboxing and open gyms for basketball.

A fantastic way to meet people and give back to your new home is by volunteering. Believe it or not, this megalithic city doesn’t just run itself. The City has a program set up to match volunteers with types of organizations they are interested in working with, like the environment, community/neighborhoods, health, education, etc. Volunteer Match is another organization that finds opportunities close to you (but you can also sort based on your interests).

New York is a city full of artists. If you want to expand your creativity or be inspired by others there are ample opportunities to see artists at work. A fun and safe environment to overcome stage fright is The Open Mic Downstairs – a great place to meet other actors, comedians, singers, etc. It is also only $3 if you want to just see talented people letting themselves go. If spoken word (with some comedy) is more your style “Bareburger Unplugged” is a place also meant to be a safe environment for artists to experiment, and they have some of the best organic burgers on the island. Another fun way to meet people is to go to a paint night.  Located all over the city, and almost every day, this is no pressure studio time (the paintings they give as the sample are more like guidelines I say).

It can be kind of awkward to start a conversation with a random person out of the blue, so the easiest way to do it is to have something to talk about right away, like something you have in common. The best way to have this is to attend events that are centered around shared interests. New York Comic Con is one of the biggest and most famous example, although tickets can cost hundreds of dollars and sell out within minutes. Meetup facilitates meetings of people with similar interests, and extend all through New York City, not just Manhattan. These groups are incredibly diverse with runners, a Capella singers, “foodie couples”, and Jewish parents of Astoria (I don’t know if that last one would apply to anyone reading this, but hey, FIT has an incredibly diverse student body!). The coolest “meetup” idea I’ve seen, which I totally want to try ASAP, is meal sharing. Eat With puts up times that chefs in your area are hosting dinner parties or cooking classes. Not only is it a great way to have a fantastic, authentic  meal, but it is an awesome resource for students who cannot get home for the holidays, but still want to have a group meal.

For even more ideas try Time Out NY. Do any of you have suggestions?

–Emily–

Let’s Get Creative!

“The Foundation Year”

If you have been applying to other arts universities, you will recognize this as the first year of school that is dedicated not to your major of choice, but rather a general sampling of a majority of the visual arts mediums. The idea is to allow students to experience as many forms of the creative process as possible, before they decide what they want to focus in for the rest of their time at college, and potentially the rest of their lives.

The fact that FIT does not have a foundation year was actually one of the main draws for me when I was a senior in high school. Back then I thought the foundation year seemed like a waste, since I was already so sure of what I was going to do for the rest of my life (and we all know how that turned out – cue self-deprecating eye roll). I never like to be wrong, but I must admit that in hindsight sixteen-year-old me may have been slightly too self-assured.

Honestly, one of the hardest parts of FIT for me was continually pushing myself creatively. Of course, projects require a certain amount of creativity, but it is usually restricted by some guidelines or simply time restraints. The workload at FIT is exhausting, so it can be very difficult to  carve out time for personal and uninhibited creation. Even when I had time, I was usually too tired from all the work I had just finished to focus and push myself to put in the effort to do something extra. Looking back, I think a foundation year could have been really effective in learning to hone original thought and experiment with unexpected materials and techniques. It would be especially cool if we could pick our own classes – like a “create your own foundation year”. I definitely would have taken some photography classes, experimental materials, classical drawing for anatomy, film production, ceramics, figure drawing (actually I did take this class my first semester of Fashion Design and it was great and I would totally do it again), I mean the list could go on.

Realistically, there is not enough time in the Art & Design school’s curriculum for such an idea, but the huge wealth of specific information we receive here is one of the largest benefits of coming to FIT. Yet, I wonder if I have missed out on some of the most creatively fruitful years of my life. I have found that the most exciting work does not come from knowing, but instead not knowing and saying, “Hey I have the crazy idea and I don’t have a clue how to make it work but let’s just try it!” Whether or not you end up attending FIT, I hope you keep this in the back of your head. Grades and classes are important of course, but I bet the work you will be most proud of is the stuff that you had no idea if it would work or not, but experimented and failed until it did.

–Emily–

Tips for High School Students

  1. Take AP classes

If your school offers them and your schedule allows, Advanced Placement classes can really free up time in your schedule when you get to college (IF the school accepts them, definitely worth it to check first)

2. Take an Art History course

Here at FIT everyone has to take at least one Art History course for the general education requirements. It’s pretty helpful considering this is by and large an art school, even for the business kids. However, having general knowledge of art can be helpful in understanding concepts in history, sociology and even science  and math! (Ever hear of the golden ratio??) Also, if you take this as an AP and the credits transfer you can get out of this requirement (see above)

3. Apply early

4. Enjoy the summer!

It’s not like summers post college won’t be fun, but right now you have very few responsibilities compared to your future so revel in it baby!

5. Get to know the area around FIT

If it’s possible, you might want to come to 27th Street and scope out the area, find a few food places, see how far the walk to the grocery store is, start making a mental list of cool places you want to visit, etc.

6. If you will be commuting, do a test run day so you know where you’re going

You really don’t want your first day of class to be when you realize the walk from the subway to the school takes fifteen minutes longer than you thought. Trust me, you will be stressed out enough on your first day, and knowing where you’re going will make everything easier. Also, the other people on their way to work won’t hate you for getting in their way.

7. Do creative stuff!

Even though many of your classes and projects will force you to be creative, there will be a lot of stress and guidelines. If you have any personal projects you want to work on do it now while you have the time!

8. Keep up with cultural events around your area/the world

9. Talk to other people starting FIT on Facebook or social media

10. Get to know your roommate(s) and plan what you’re bringing

You really don’t want to end up with three microwaves and no dishes.

11. Talk to people in the industry in your area (boutique owners, FIT alumni, artists, etc.)

People are busy, but if you are respectful of their time everyone loves talking to the next generation of artists!

12. If you’re going to be an Art & Design student consider getting the Adobe Suite

Most of the Art & Design majors will require you to take classes in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign as well as use them independently in projects. Look at what classes you will be taking in your major and see what Adobe is offering (student pricing!) to decide what would be best for your needs.

13. Immerse yourself in culture (movies, books, paintings, etc.) because you will be expected to be able to reference things for projects

14. Save up some money

 NYC is expensive man.


Do you guys have any tips you want to share?

–Emily–

Internship Class

At FIT, you have many opportunities to do a credited internship through the school.  Along with the internship in the field, you also are required to take an internship class simultaneously.  The internship class itself only meets 6 times throughout the semester.  Having already attended 3 out of the 6 classes, I figured that I would fill you in on what usually happens in an internship course:

  • You discuss your internship and your experiences each time you meet
  • You reflect on what went well in your internship and what accomplishments, big or small you achieved
  • Write journals reflecting on your experience and how you can improve
  • Submit your internship time sheets
  • Have a midterm evaluation by your supervisor
  • Discuss your company’s mission statement
  • Network with other students within the class to gain connections and hear about their internship experience for your future reference
  • Commonly realize that there are so many people in your building from FIT :)

    The class thus far has really helped me evaluate my internship and what I can improve on as an intern.  Hope this helps some of you curious about the internship process!

-Ashley

Pre-College Programs

If you just cannot wait to study at FIT, there are classes available to middle and high school students. The program is called Saturday Live (or Summer Live depending on what time of year it is). One of my friends, who is now at RISD, told me about the classes and I ended up taking  five different courses while I was in high school:

Manual Patternmaking and Sewing

Introduction to Fashion Design Industry

Creative Fabric Painting

Fashion Art for Fashion Designers

Fashion Art Portfolio

The classes would run from 9-12 and then 1-4 after lunch. I lived in Westchester so I did the morning Metronorth commute with all the parents who lived in my town. The classes were good for laying down the basics for the courses I would take when I got to college. They were fun and not very stressful, so we could take risks and not worry about failing. You do get graded in these courses, but the grades do not hold any college credit value and are therefore just meant to help you evaluate yourself.

While you certainly could never replace, say, the college level patternmaking couse with the one I took over the summer, the classes were a fantastic place to meet other fashion-focused kids my age, test the waters of various disciplines and evaluate my base skill levels.

I realized that I was set on going into fashion design in college, so I took classes specifically to improve my portfolio. Taking these classes certainly does not guarantee you will get into FIT, but actually working in the classrooms with real teachers from the college helps tremendously. I think it also gives a great sneak peak into what it would actually be like to go to FIT. My Fashion Art Portfolio teacher reviewed my portfolio before I sent it in with my application and then I ended up having her as my Fashion Art & Design professor second semester! She even recognized me on the first day of class. Now, they have even organized the classes into groups so you can see which to take in preparation for certain majors.

–Emily–

Transitions

If you would have asked me what I wanted to do with my life this time last year, I would have told that you I was going to be a beauty photographer shooting ad campaigns for Sephora, Urban Decay, and Chanel.  Today if you were to ask me, I would say that I want to be a photo editor on the digital aspect of a magazine (the .com/social media portion) and a group fitness instructor.  It’s amazing how much changes over a year.  While my life did not change all that much, I am different person compared to freshman year me.  I am more responsible, passionate, confident in myself as a person and an artist.  I didn’t give up on my dream, my dream just changed a little bit.  I am still in the photography realm of everything, but my outcome and how I picture my life upon graduation and 10 years plus has changed.

It is important especially in college, and a college like FIT to continue to keep an open mind and to know that it is okay to change your mind.  While it can be difficult to completely switch gears at FIT, imagine yourself out of college and try to imagine what you want to be doing regardless of your declared major.  Go after your passions and take control of what you love.  Don’t let anyone stop you.

Ashley